Some Important Issues to Consider

There are many beautiful, wonderful things happening all over the world. People are falling in love, bees are buzzing through the air, trees are growing tall. But there are also many terrible things occurring, many of which are the product of human greed, desire, and prejudice.

We as individuals and communities can help put an end to the injustice happening worldwide. We can vote, educate others, and support businesses that we believe in. It may seem small, but together we are powerful. 

The first step in creating change is knowing what needs to be changed. Here are a few topics I am familiar with, but please understand this is a brief and limited list. I hope you take the time to research topics I don't cover. 

Animal Cruelty:

Animal Testing - As I mentioned in my article "Ethical Fashion Terminology," animals are commonly tested on, especially by makeup and skincare corporations. Mainly rodents, including bunnies and mice, have chemicals smeared across their skin or eyes. China requires that products sold in their country first be tested on animals, causing many corporations to do what I believe is cruel and inhumane. Many big name brands such as Kiehl's, Benefit, Bobbi Brown, Clinique, Chap Stick, Aveeno, Secret, Head and Shoulders, Tide, Arm & Hamer, and many more test on animals.

Factory Farming - Factory farming is a huge issue, especially in the United States. Animals are raised to be impossibly big, kept in dark, unhygienic pens filled to the brim with their brothers and sisters. They are treated terribly, really and truly terrible. If you would like to learn more, read this article. Warning: it is graphic and extremely horrifying.  

Animals for Clothing - Animal hide, especially that of a cow or furred mammal (fox, beaver, etc.), is commonly used for clothing. Luckily, in recent years the popularity of wearing fur has decreased substantially. However, leather is a common material to be used when making shoes, belts, and bags. There are advantages to using leather, including that it decomposes. In addition, using leather helps to use the whole animal, helping to ensure that its death was not wasted. Unfortunately, most leather being used comes from factory farmed cows and is treated with toxic chemicals, making it less biodegradable. 

Animals for Entertainment - In the past, animals have been used and abused to provide entertainment for us. Circuses, in particular, mistreated their animals, prodding them with electrical sticks to teach them tricks and keeping them in tiny enclosures. Thankfully, Ringling Bro's, one of the most famous circuses, closed its doors in 2017. However, many amusement parks and museums continue to abuse animals. Further, it can be argued that the cons– holding animals captive –outweigh the beneficial educational value when it comes to zoos and aquariums. 

Fossil Fuels and Plastic: 

The search for fossil fuels has started wars, which caused many, many people to die. Drilling for the fuel has caused earthquakes and for peoples drinking water to be flammable. The pipelines created to transport the oil often leak and pollute bodies of clean drinking water, putting thousands at risk.

We rely on fossil fuels in more ways that one might originally think. Not only does it often power our homes, cars, and planes, but it's also in most plastics. Plastics can never truly biodegrade, and what plastics can be recycled take vast amounts of energy to be turned into something new. And, according to the National Geographic, 91% of plastic isn't recycled and is instead buried in landfills or makes its way into our oceans, further polluting the environment. 

Ethical Fashion and Fair Trade: 

When you're shopping, do you ever stop to think about how goods can be so inexpensive? I mean, how much would you charge to make, for example, a t-shirt? There's your labor to be calculated, as well as how much you spent on the materials. And, speaking of materials, how are they so inexpensive? 

Most often, workers aren't paid well or provided safe spaces to work. On top of that, companies often cut costs by buying materials that harm the planet, such as toxic chemical treated cotton. 

Toxic Products: 

Almost every drugstore self-care product, whether it be lotion or mascara, contains harmful toxins. These toxins can lead to serious health affects, some of which we are just beginning to understand. Check the EWG’s Skin Deep database to find out which products are safe and which are harmful.

These are just a few issues that I happen to know a lot about (mainly as a product of doing research projects in high school) and which I am passionate about. Other equally important issues include the DREAM act and immigration rights, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the DAPL protest. There are so many other issues. Please research them and become informed!

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